Damien O'Kane & Ron Block Band with Michael McGoldrick + The Sarah Markey Band


8
Jul

Friday 8th July 2022
Doors: 7:30pm
Festival Marquee, Newton Stewart, Scotland

Tickets: £17.00 / £15.00 (Concession)

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Damien O'Kane & Ron Block Band with Michael McGoldrick + The Sarah Markey Band

It doesn't get much better an opening night concert than Coleraine's very own Damien O'Kane and 14 time Grammy Award winner, Ron Block for an outstanding night of banjo with support from The Sarah Markey Band.

The humble banjo has long been the brunt of innumerable jokes. So here goes: “What do you get if you cross an American bluegrass banjo and an Irish tenor banjo?” In the case of Coleraine’s Damien O’Kane and California’s Ron Block you get fireworks – and a spectacular debut duo album, released July 2018, that is probably nothing like you could imagine. Banjo players can be almost apologetic about the instrument popularised in America with its origins in West Africa. Block himself has been known to jokingly describe the instrument as the ‘high school chick repellent’. But on either side of the Atlantic O’Kane and Block decided to stop laughing at banjo jokes – and learn how to play one – and how! With two bold and acclaimed recent albums to his name – the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Album’ nominated Areas of High Traffic and last year’s Avenging and Bright, O’Kane thought it was high time to join forces with a musician he had long admired – Alison Krauss & Union Station’s banjo star and multiple award winner Block (no less than 14 Grammy Awards and six International Bluegrass Music Awards to his name for starters).

Widely regarded as two of the greatest exponents of the instrument they have collaborated to create arguably their own genre, something never heard before! Says Damien: “We coined the phrase ‘Banjophony’ meaning the wondrous sounds of the banjo and decided that described the album well. What that means lies within the virtuosity and beauty of the music”. A union of transatlantic cultures, Banjophony melds two different styles and approaches to the banjo to captivating effect. Every note is precise and in exactly the right place, rising and falling with ‘question and answer’ picking and plucking, the light perfectly balanced by the shade – the musicians demonstrating high level connectivity and empathy. The end result is a sparkling rollercoaster record which showcases an instrument that proves incredibly versatile in the right hands – both showy and subtle. The banjo brothers-in-arms are joined by a host of top guests including world renowned fiddle player Stuart Duncan who has performed with artists such as Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Robert Plant and Emmy-Lou Harris. Other stellar guests from the U.S. include mandolin stars Sierra Hull and Sam Bush while on double bass are Barry Bales and Ethan Jodziewicz. From this side of the pond, the star-studded list continues with the inestimable Michael McGoldrick on flute and whistles, Steven Byrnes and David Kosky on guitar throughout, Duncan Lyall on double bass and Moog and Anthony Davis on keyboards.

Life-affirming, uplifting, this is a carefully cultivated collection - not music for the sake of it. More to the point they have succeeded in making two banjos subtle, awe- inspiring and majestic, so no apologies or jokes here - just listen and believe!

Tickets are available online now by clicking the link below, or you'll find this concert is included in the outstanding value that is a festival Weekend Pass which are also available to purchase online now - Buy Weekend Pass


 

Festival Marquee


Festival Marquee
The Vault Arts Centre
40 Victoria Street
Newton Stewart
Wigtownshire
Scotland
DG8 6BT

The Festival Marquee is located in the apple tree garden at the rear of the Trust's live music and performing arts centre, The Vault Arts Centre, in Newton Stewart.

Trad Music Trust

The 8th annual Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival will take place over the 8th-10th July 2022 and it's a HUGE comeback event featuring, as ever, the very best in traditional music & dance. The Sarah Markey Band, Damien O'Kane & Ron Block Band with Michael McGoldrick, Megan Nic Fhionnghaile, Malin Makes Music, John McSherry & Francis McIlduff, Heather Cartwright, Mairi McGillivray and Blue Rose Code (trio)!! It's going to be another incredible weekend.

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